Poland and Germany talk over disputed judicial reforms

Image copyright PA Image caption Tensions have increased after a string of legal and institutional reforms in Belarus

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Berlin is concerned that Poland’s disputed judicial reforms and new law would undermine democracy.

Poland’s ruling party is pushing to overhaul the country’s judiciary, to end what it calls a “political” regime.

Poland’s biggest political parties and rights groups have expressed concern.

The Social Democrats in particular have come out strongly against the reforms.

During the German-Polish meeting in the Oval Office, Angela Merkel said there was “full solidarity between us” on Ukraine, Belarus and Israel.

Ms Merkel and Duda had lunch at the White House before their meeting.

The two met again later, this time at the UN.

Image copyright Markus Sommer for WRK

According to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Ms Merkel stressed the importance of free and fair elections and the rule of law.

President Duda said that although Poland and Germany had not always agreed, his government believed that more dialogue was needed.

He added that his “real goal” was to reform “law, state institutions and the entire public sphere”.

Image copyright Markus Sommer for WRK Image caption Poland is strongly associated with anti-Russian views

Relations between Berlin and Warsaw deteriorated over the past year, despite increasing tensions with Moscow.

Poland has very strongly opposed a number of Russian-related policies, including trade sanctions and EU sanctions.

Andrzej Duda is due to meet US President Donald Trump later on Friday.

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